Thursday, February 22, 2024

Melbourne parks go to the dogs

Melbourne dogs could soon be treated to more parkland for their daily walks under a City of Melbourne Council proposal to double the number of off-leash areas.  

At tonight’s Future Melbourne Committee meeting, Councillors will consider designating eight new off leash areas for dogs in portions of: 

  • Eades Park, West Melbourne 
  • Kingsway & Moray Street Reserve, Southbank 
  • Murchison Square, Carlton 
  • Point Park, Docklands 
  • Riverside Park, Kensington 
  • Ron Barassi Senior Park, Docklands 
  • Royal Park (Manningham Reserve), Parkville 
  • Wellington Park, East Melbourne 

Council says Melbourne has seen a booming population of household hounds since the start of the pandemic, with registrations increasing more than 20% in the past two years – from 3,948 in 2020 to 4,750 in 2022.

“Through several rounds of engagement, we’ve heard from our local community, and we know that taking good care of their furry friends is important to them,” said Lord Mayor, Sally Capp.

“With a growing population of Lunas, Buddys and Milos, we see a need to up the ante when it comes to designated spaces for pooches large and small to run free – to exercise and socialise with their friends. 

“Not only does this lead to a happier hound, but it also minimises the risk of behavioural issues like barking and destruction, which leaves us dog mums and dads happier, too!” 

If endorsed, the proposal would see 3.5 hectares added to the existing 16 hectares of off leash parkland across the municipality, equating to nearly 10 MCGs worth of space for inner-city pooches to sniff, fetch and play with their four-legged friends across 16 parks. 

The recommendation follows a review of dogs in open spaces in 2019, which identified gaps in off leash provisions across the municipality.

Throughout two phases of community engagement, Council has received overwhelming support for the new dog parks from the local community, it said in a statement.

“We want Melbourne to be just as livable for our four-legged best friends as it is for Melburnians,” said Environment portfolio lead Councillor, Rohan Leppert.

“While City of Melbourne is recommending eight new off leash areas for dogs to roam, the new timed access model will ensure that these areas – which are spotted across Carlton, Docklands, Parkville and more – will remain accessible for cyclists and pedestrians, and for the wider community to enjoy during peak hours.”

A timed access model is proposed for selected parks including Murchison Square, Point Park, Riverside Park and Wellington Park. Limited off leash hours between 8pm and 6am daily would be observed to ensure parks could be shared and enjoyed safely for all members of the local community. 

For more information, visit the City of Melbourne’s website

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